Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Cleaning the Frame and Re-packing Bearings: Restoration Days 4 and 5

Both last Friday and yesterday (Monday) were slow days.  I spent most of Friday cleaning the dirt and grime off the frame.


Since I didn't have a real hoist to hold the bike frame off the ground, I mounted the bike rack to the back of my mom's Mountaineer and just worked with that.


I first gave the chain ring and crank the same WD-40 and penny treatment that I've been giving to rusted chrome parts.  For whatever reason, I didn't think I was making much of a difference when I was scratching but it did end up looking pretty good on the outer side.  The chain ring was a little more pitted with rust on the other side so still looks a kind of brown.  It would make things a great deal easier if cottered cranks weren't such a pain to work on, or at least if cotter pins were reusable somehow. For those of you who aren't familiar with cottered cranks, you can see a bolt and nut running perpendicular to the crank handle near the center of the chain ring.  That's the cotter pin and when it's installed, it changes shape to conform to the crank, holding it tight.  When someone needs to disassemble the crank, the cotter pins need to be banged out (and I mean SMASHED) and they'll need to be replaced because they'll never be tight again.  I was hoping I could disassemble the pedals at least but the nuts are all frozen up with rust.  

Cutaway view of Sturmey-Archer AW from Sheldon Brown's site
Also check out Chester Cycling's site for another "tutorial"

Over the weekend, I did some more research and realized that the Sturmey-Archer 3-speed AW hub isn't nearly as complex and mysterious as most people make them out to be.  I figured I'd try to disassemble it part way to pack the bearings with grease at least and if needed, cleaning out the moving parts.  I know the old bearing grease had already been washed out by the WD-40 flushing on the first day.

Motor oil doesn't really taste like anything in case this jar got you wondering.  It is a beautiful color, though. 

The first thing I did on Monday was go to the store to get some lube.  I used advice from this site that I found over the weekend and could only find SAE 30 motor oil, not 20, at the store.  I also bought a bottle of "Zoom Spout" turbine oil mainly for the bottle's awesome extendable nozzle but realized there were probably a few unused syringes lying around my house.  I originally planned to put the turbine oil in another container first but then decided to just finish using that up on normal things, however long it may take, and use the mason jar and syringe to oil my bike hub for now.  I was actually tempted to use the turbine oil in my bike hub because it said it was made for 1/3 to 5 hp electric motors just like the 3-in-1 oil on the site mentioned above, but I ultimately decided against it even though it would probably have worked fine.  

This video greatly assisted in my understanding of the hub.  Thank you, "No Touching."

I started out by packing the bearings of the dynohub with grease and putting it back together.  The front wheel is now done, unless I decide to remove the tire and scratch off the small amount of rust that's under it.  I then asked my sister to come help me operate the computer while my hands were dirty.  Using the above video and Sheldon Brown's guide here, I really only got to the 2-minute mark in the video.  The ball ring on my hub was way too tight and did not even budge so after almost half an hour of banging around, I gave up and packed the left side bearing and cone with grease and tried my best to get some grease into the right side cone.  So much for that.  I am waiting for the remaining WD-40 to evaporate out of the hub (or whatever of it that can evaporate) before squirting motor oil into it.  I guess I'll start sanding and doing paint prep in the following days.  

EDIT 10-13-14: Close-up inspection of the rust-pitted hub shell indicated that this bike has the SW hub, much to my surprise.  It was introduced in 1956 as a replacement for the AW with a "super wide" ratio but was dropped mid year 1958 due to severe reliability issues.  Mine has been very good to me, save for some rare skipping under hard acceleration (probably due to the springless pawls).